Understanding Broadside Accidents

T-bone car accidentsA broadside accident, also known as a T-bone accident or an angle collision, is a car accident that happens between two vehicles, where the front end of one car crashes into the side of another car. It’s one of the more deadly types of car accidents.

In fact, it was the leading cause of fatalities in collisions involving (at least) two vehicles in 2021, according to the National Safety Council. That year, the most recent for which data is available, there were 20,200 fatal accidents across the country between vehicles. Of those accidents, about 9,000 involved angle collisions – almost 45% of all fatal accidents.

A broadside accident can be a very dangerous or deadly collision, depending on where your vehicle is hit. You may suffer serious injuries, which can lead to physical, mental, and financial consequences. If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a car accident in Charlotte, don’t despair: you have legal options. We can help.

Why are broadside collisions so dangerous?

Broadside collisions are so dangerous because of the way that most cars are built. Passenger vehicles have crumple zones in the front and rear. In the event of a crash, the front or back of the car absorbs some of the energy of a crash. Meanwhile, the frame of the car protects its driver and passengers. On top of that, front airbags can help absorb some of that energy, too.

But side impact crashes are different. There is no crumple zone on the side of a car; instead, vehicles are designed to redirect the energy of a collision, relying on the frame to protect passengers. Newer models have better protection, especially from “intrusion” (objects entering, or intruding upon, the passengers’ space), and may even have curtain airbags. But not all vehicles are equipped with these safety measures, and rear passengers can easily be thrown about the vehicle. They can also suffer severe trauma because of the way their bodies move even when they’re belted in. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported in 2022 that their “new crash test spotlights lagging protection for rear passengers,” partially because of the way rear seat belts work.

The types of injuries that result from broadside car accidents

There are a variety of different injuries that may result from a broadside accident. Whether your injuries are minor or severe, you should always inform your healthcare provider as well as your car accident attorney about each one. Following are some of the most common injuries that result from broadside car accidents:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head and skull injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Scars and disfigurement
  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal organ damage
  • Loss of limbs or amputations
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Whiplash or neck injuries
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Crushing injuries
  • Dental, facial, and eye injuries
  • Death

If you have been in a broadside accident and suffer any of these injuries mentioned above, it is highly recommended that you visit your local hospital or doctor’s office immediately. Getting the proper treatment is not only crucial to your health, but it can also be beneficial to your car accident case. After seeking medical attention, consult with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Reasons why broadside accidents happen in Charlotte, NC

Like any other car accident, most broadside accidents mostly occur due to negligent behavior, including:

  • Drunk or intoxicated driving: When a motor vehicle driver is driving while drunk or intoxicated, their reaction time will be severely delayed. They may also miss driving queues, like red lights or turning vehicles.
  • Fatigued driving: Driving while tired or fatigued is extremely dangerous. These drivers may fall asleep behind the wheel, which can cause their vehicle to move into another lane, run a stop light/ sign, or hit another car. This can lead to a deadly broadside accident.
  • Distracted driving: Drivers who are texting, playing with their radio, adjusting the air conditioning controls, talking on the phone, or putting on makeup are participating in distracted driving. When this happens, they are most likely not paying attention to the roads or their surroundings, which may cause them to abruptly strike the side of a vehicle.
  • Not stopping at stop signs or lights: Stop lights and stop signs are put in place to guide and direct traffic as well as keep drivers safe. Running a red light or ignoring other instructions at an intersection is a lead cause of T-bone crashes. Drivers must be on high alert and constantly paying attention to know who has the right of way as well as watching the stop lights, which tell them when they can go. One little mistake or error made by a driver can lead to a very serious broadside accident.

Third parties can cause broadside accidents, too

In some cases, a broadside collision is the fault of a third party. A collision between two drivers can easily cause a crash with a third (or fourth, or fifth) vehicle. So, too, can jackknifing trucks, hydroplaning vehicles, wildlife that runs across a road, or any other third party.

For example, say a motorcycle operator is lane splitting or some other illegal behavior. The operator cuts out in front of traffic in an intersection. Driver A swerves to avoid the motorcycle, and ends up hitting Driver B who is traveling next to Driver A. In this case, the evasive maneuver by Driver A is the root cause of the crash, but the motorcycle operator may bear some liability for his or her actions.

Five tips to reduce the risk of a broadside car accident in Charlotte

You cannot control the behaviors of other drivers, but you can take some steps to reduce your risk of a crash:

  1. Drive carefully and cautiously.
  2. Always come to a complete stop at stop lights and signs, and look both ways before proceeding – even when you have right-of-way.
  3. Never drive over the speed limit.
  4. Pay attention to the road as well as your surroundings while driving.
  5. Drive slower when it is raining, snowing, sleeting, or hailing so you have time to apply the brakes without slamming on them.

At Price, Petho & Associates, our Charlotte car accident lawyers know and understand the ins and outs of broadside accidents. We are also equipped with the experience and knowledge to determine if you have a viable claim, find out who is liable for your accident, gather the proper evidence to support your side of the story, and fight for your right to the compensation you deserve. Our team believes in holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions and ensuring that they pay for the damage they cause. Please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free case evaluation at our Charlotte, Rutherfordton, or Rockingham office today.